The political peril inflicted by the educational positions of Virginia Democratic candidate for governor Terry McAuliffe intensified this week when a father accused the Loudoun County School Board of covering up the rape of his teenage daughter in the high school toilet.
The father was dragged out of a school board meeting and arrested when he tried to confront members about his daughter being assaulted by a boy wearing a skirt in the girls’ bathroom.
The episode in Loudoun County, Va. Touched on the burning positions Mr McAuliffe has taken in supporting permissive transgender policies and questioning parental rights in school decisions.
Mr McAuliffe lay low on Wednesday and dodged questions from the Washington Times as the rape story exploded on the political scene in Virginia.
Republicans seeking to push party gubernatorial candidate Glenn Youngkin past the finish line in the Nov. 2 election took to the rape story to hammer Mr. McAuliffe and the state’s Democratic leaders.
“The cover-up of Loudoun County is another indicator that Democrats and school administrators are absolutely out of touch with issues important to parents, students and families. It will most certainly have a profound impact on the gubernatorial elections and the like, ”said Rich Anderson, President of the Republican Party of Virginia, in an interview.
Indeed, the episode fueled concerns among conservatives in Virginia about culture wars inside schools and COVID-19 mandates for students.
Mr McAuliffe, a former Virginia governor running for a second non-consecutive term, was already under fire from parental rights advocates for apparently siding with school officials and against parents when the two clashed.
“I am not going to let parents go into schools and take out books and make their own decisions,” Mr McAuliffe said during the last debate against Mr Youngkin when he was pressed for a mother’s attempt to remove pornography from a school library. “I don’t think parents should tell schools what to teach.
The former governor was trying to reverse the remark before the rape in the bathroom occurred this week.
The shocking account of the ninth grade girl’s sexual assault was first reported by The Daily Wire. The report contained accusations that school board officials tried to cover up the story because it threatened to undermine support for a new policy to treat trans students based on their gender of choice.
Scott Smith, the girl’s father, reacted angrily at a school board meeting on June 22 when board members claimed they had no evidence of an assault in the school bathroom. Law enforcement officials physically dragged Mr. Smith out of the room before he made public statements to the council.
The National School Boards Association and its supporters released a video of Mr. Smith’s brutal arrest to show that parents who speak out against the public school curriculum are dangerous “domestic terrorists”.
The boy accused of assaulting Mr Smith’s daughter was later charged with sexually assaulting another girl at another school in the county, the father later told Fox News Channel.
The Washington Times has been unable to independently verify his claims.
Loudoun County Public Schools spokesperson Wayde Byard said the school was following federal law to deal with the situation.
“LCPS is prohibited from disciplining a student without following the Title IX grievance process, which includes investigating complaints of sexual harassment and sexual assault. The LCPS imposes interim measures to protect the safety of students involved in the initial incident, deter retaliation, and preserve the integrity of the investigation and resolution process. The LCPS has complied and continues to comply with its obligations under Title IX, ”he said.
Mr Byard said school board members generally do not receive details on disciplinary matters. “As a result, members of the Loudoun County School Board were not aware of the specific details of this incident until it was reported in the media earlier this week. We are unable to locate any recordings indicating that Scott Smith had pre-registered to speak at the June 22, 2021 board meeting, ”he said.
The accusation that the rapist was a boy wearing a skirt in the girls’ bathroom also threatens to reignite Virginia’s fight for transgender school toilets. Mr. McAuliffe firmly sided with the school boards to have the last word on the issue.
“I have always felt that school boards have the pulse of the local community. They should make their decisions, ”the Democrat said last month during the final debate. “I hate all this division that’s going on today. I hate to see our children demonized today. I really don’t like it.
Mr McAuliffe also pledged as governor in 2017 to veto any legislation similar to North Carolina’s “toilet bill”.
A Republican state lawmaker at the time introduced a bill requiring people to use toilets, locker rooms, or changing rooms that match their biological sex.
“Stay away from issues of social division,” McAuliffe told lawmakers. “We’re not going to build a wall around Virginia.”
An Emerson College poll released this month showed voters believe parents should have more influence over choice of course of study by a range of 51.5% to 32.5%. The other respondents were on the fence. A YouGov poll released this week found that 62% of registered voters said Virginia’s school curriculum on race in history was a big factor in how they vote, including 73% of Republicans, 61% of independents and 52% of Democrats.